The Attrition Dynamics of Multilateral War

Moshe Kress, Kyle Lin, Niall James MacKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We extend classical force-on-force combat models to study the attrition dynamics of three-way and multilateral war. We introduce a new multilateral combat model (the multiduel) which generalizes the Lanchester models, and solve it under an objective function which values one's own surviving force minus that of one's enemies. The outcome is stark: either one side is strong enough to destroy all the others combined, or all sides are locked in a stalemate which results in collective mutual annihilation. The situation in Syria fits this paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-956
Number of pages7
JournalOperations Research
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018

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  • Lanchester model
  • Multiplayer nonzero-sum game

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